3 Practical Ways to Manage Your Joint Pain Flare-Ups During the Holidays November 30 2017
“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”
― Markus Zusak,
Lack of sleep, stress, extra time on your feet and overeating can all contribute to increased pain or flare-ups during the holiday season. Pain can be difficult to endure even during normal days, but with some thought and planning you can reduce the number of bad days you experience, or get through them more easily.
1. Get some support.
Studies have shown that depression and stress can lead to a heightened experience of pain, while pain can lead to depression, anxiety and stress. Break the cycle with online support forums, local support groups or even with a licensed therapist. Take care of your whole person. It isn't selfish, it is necessary and vital.
2. Get enough rest.
Consider ways to simplify your schedule during the holidays and don't be afraid to say no to extra commitments. Set a bedtime and stick to it and schedule regular breaks throughout your day to stop and be mindful. Do something that makes you happy, even for five minutes. Stop and be silent and still. Take naps when possible. Pain can lead to frequent "wake-ups" and non-restorative sleep patterns. Meditation, cognitive behavior therapy, and deep breathing exercises are some of the more common practices to overcome the difficulties presented in falling and staying asleep.
3. Make Healthy Choices
The holidays present an excuse to put aside healthy choices and enjoy holiday cakes, pies and cocktail. For people with arthritis or another illness that causes chronic pain, indulging may cause a flare. Here are some ideas to help you stay on track and possibly head off problems before they start.
- Eat Healthy fats. Doctors agree that omega-3 fatty acids clearly have an anti-inflammatory role, and high doses can help rheumatoid arthritis. Cookies and eggnog tend to be high in saturated fat — the wrong kind for RA. Choose fish, walnuts, and other foods containing omega-3s to help keep the flares away.
- Take in some sunlight and add more Vitamin D to your diet. Vitamin D is generated by your body naturally when you spend time in the sun. Schedule a morning walk or an extra 15 minutes outside at lunch time to take in some much-needed sunlight. Cod liver oil will provide you with 450 IU or 75% of your daily requirement with just a single teaspoon. As an added bonus it is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids!
- Avoid saturated fats. Just say no to cookies and eggnog! Small amounts of saturated fats can be incorporated into a healthy diet, but should be limited to less than 10% of your total calorie intake. Need more guidance? Check out Arthritis Anti-inflammatory Diet Information for guidelines to help you make good eating choices this season.
- Supplements like Synodrin® work with our fast-acting topical gel to support a healthy immune response. Consider trying a daily supplement regimen and work with your body's defenses. Choose high-quality supplements for the best results.
This holiday season, plan to take care of your body, mind and spirit, then implement the plan. If you fall off-course, try again. With consistency and a little care, you can make this the most wonderful season possible.